Wednesday, November 30, 2022

CCGS Hudson - nearer the end of the line

 The CCGS Hudson is one move closer to the end of the line, as a contract has been awarded for its demolition. The sixty year old ocean sciences vessel was retired earlier this year, even though it was hoped to keep the ship going until its replacement could be built (see more on that below).

Denuded of its lifeboats and other re-useable equipment, the Hudson sits forlornly at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography dock.

Built in 1963 the still handsome ship has a legendary history, too long to recount here (see Wikipedia's entry: for more detail.)

The demolition contract has been awarded to the sole bidder R.G.MacIsaac Construction Ltd of Antigonish, NS for an amount variously reported at $1,656,970.00 (MoT) or $1,637,756.17 (press report.) The MacIsaac company previously scrapped the HMCS Protecteur, Algonquin and Iroquois at the Port Mersey Commercial Park in Brooklyn, NS (the former Bowater Mersey Paper mill site in Liverpool, NS harbour.)

The ship will no doubt be towed to whatever demolition site, and a full report will appear here when that happens.

On November 25 the Minister of Fisheries + Oceans and others conducted a keel laying ceremony at the Seaspan shipyard in Vancouver for the Hudson's replacement.The ship may be delivered in 2025 according to the current schedule. Previously budgeted (in 2021) at $453.8 mn, the price tag now stands at $966.5 mn. In 2019 the government and shipyard agreed to "re-sequence" construction of the ship. It will therefore be built between construction of the RCN's two new Joint Support Ships. 

 Will the new ship look as good as this?


More Activity at IT International Telecom

 A second cable ship arrived at IT International Telecom's Marine Base at Pier 9A today, November 30. Today's arrival is IT Integrity the former supplier Highland Fortress acquired and renamed in 2020. The 2244 gt, 3200 dwt vessel was built by Aker Tulcea and completed by Soviknes Verft in Norway in 2001. The ship is fitted with special equipment for cable repair and laying - some of which is "modular" and can be lifted on and off the ship as needed.

Arriving from Port Alberni, BC, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the ship was working with fleeet mate IT Intrepid on the Google TOPAZ Transpacific fibreoptic cable system from Japan to Vancouver, via Port Alberni.

In Halifax IT Integrity joined another member of the IT fleet, IT Infinity, which is fitting out with more cable laying equipment.

IT Infinity, a 4277 gt, 4867 dwt former supplier, was built in 2008, also by Aker Tulcea and completed by Brattvag. Orginally Volstad Princess it became Standard Princess in 2017. It was acquired and renamed IT Infinity in 2021. When it arrived in Halifax in July it was flying the Barbados flag. It sailed to Mulgrave, NS on October 21 and on return to Halifax November 8 it was registered under the Canadian flag on November 9.



Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Advantage Point for Imperial

 Today (November 29) marked the arrival of an unusual tanker from an unusual port. The tanker is named Advantage Point, sailing in the Norient Tanker Pool.

Built in 2006 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, it is a 23,356 gt, 37,029 dwt MR tanker, which was originally named Baltic Force (until 2017). That name, plus the full width enclosed bridge wings suggest that it is an ice class vessel. The Norient Pool (a joint venture between the Danish Norden and the Cypriot Interorient) operates around 130 tankers, most from Norden.

Normally Imperial Oil brings in refined product from its own Canadian refineries, or from Antwerp, Belgium. However this ship is arriving from New York, but with an interesting prior itinerary. Starting in Lavera, France October 28-November 1, the ship stopped in New York, November 16-19, Philadelphia November 19-21, Baltimore November 22-24, and New York November 24-27. 

Since the giant Lavera refinery [210,000 bbd] and chemical complex produces every imagineable kind of refined product, it is likely the ship was carrying some specialty products to the US ports, but has now brought more standard consumer goods such as gasoline and diesel fuel to Halifax for local use.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Post Blow - lift off

 With the return of calm conditions today the port was able to catch up on most of yesterday's delays. 

Among the arrivals was the first timer Protostar N for Costco's improvised shipping line.

Dissatisfied with the delays in ports and late deliveries from major shipping lines, Costco chartered its own ships and leased containers for its own exclusive use. The first of those ships to call here was the Carpathia on August 23 followed by AS Carlotta on October 15.

The Protostar N was built by Aker, with the forepart at the Warnemunde yard and the rest of the ship constructed and assembled at the Wismar yard in Germany. The 28,007 gt, 37,904 dwt ship has a capacity of 2741 TEU. Initially named Cape Manual, it took  its present name in 2013. The ship sailed from China October 23, passed the Panama Canal  November 13, then stopped in Jacksonville November 19-20, Savannah November 20-21 and Baltimore November 22. It will be interesting to see how long Costco is willing to make non-paying return trips to China with its own empty boxes. 

 The coastal container / RoRo Nolhan Ava over nighted at anchor in Bedford Basin and sailed late this morning.

Taht left X-press Machu Picchu (left background in photo) awaiting its turn at PSA Halifax South End terminal where the 15,128 TEU CMA CGM Chile was monopolizing the berth (sorry no photo.) The Franbo Lohas is also at anchor in Bedford Basin (right background in photo) as is the Polar Circle.

That also left the Skogafoss at anchor in the lower harbour, also destined for the South End Atlantic Hub.

The main event however was the float off of Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel Number 4 from Halifax Shipyard. Yesterday the ship was transported aboard the submersible barge Boabarge 37 and this morning ship and barge were moved to Bedford Basin. In a day long operation the barge was submersed and the ship floated off and was moved back to the Shipyard.

With the barge in position, operators began to flood the ballast tanks to submerge the barge.

With the barge submerged almost out of sight, the ship is finally floating on its own hull and free of the support cradles.

Tugs took charge of the ship and moved it clear of the barge, and it was soon underway for the  Shipyard.

It will be well into next year before the ship is completed and handed over to the RCN. When it is commissioned it will be named HMCS William Hall (1827-1904) for the African Nova Scotian recipient of the Victoria Cross. (See

Another sailing today was USCGC Morro Bay (see November 25) which left the Tall Ships Quay around noon. The vessel is headed for its home port of Cleveland, OH,  but will be calling at Quebec City en route.


I mentioned the extraordinary condition of its hull paint in my previous posts - here is an example:


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Big Blow

 A large low pressure zone worked its way across the region this morning (November 26). The accompanying high winds peaked in Halifax harbour around noon, with gusts of about 80 kph (50 mph), causing minor havoc with shipping.

A thin mist of wind driven spray did not obscure vision but made photos appear out of focus.

The coastal tanker Algoscotia moved off the Imperial Oil No.3 dock to anchor in the lower harbour. (Imperial Oil has only recently completed upgrades to its mooring equipment to allow ships to remain alongside in bad weather, but today's gusts were likely beyond the safe range.)

The tug Atlantic Beaver at the bow of the Algoscotia holds it alongside as the linehandling tug Roseway arrives to let the headlines go from the jetty.
The Algoscotia at anchor.

The ship arrived in Halifax November 24 from Imperial's refinery in Nanticoke, ON. It is likely to move back alongside to finish unloading before sailing for Sydney, NS. 

At the same time the autocarrier Asian Captain was making its way inbound passing Ives Knoll, but instead of turning into Eastern Passage for Autoport, it headed for lower harbour anchorage too.

Once in the anchorage position it was apparent that the winds were too high for the ship to anchor. Due to their large surface area autocarriers are difficult to handle in high winds, and are known to drift while at anchor.

The ship reached the anchorage position at the height of the wind gusts, and the flying spray was at its densest.

 The ship swung round in its position and headed back out to sea.

As it passed Ives Point again outbound there was a rare opportunity to see both sides of the ship  without tugs alongside.
Built in 1998  by Hyundai Ulsan the Asian Captain was originally a 55,729 gt, 21,466 dwt vessel, but in 2007 it was lengthened from 228.78 to 248m overall length, thus increasing its tonnages to 71,383 gt, 25,765 dwt. Its original capacity of 6,246 CEU was thus increased to 6,460 CEU.

While all this was going on HMCS Montreal slipped back into port from Operation Wolverine in the Eastern Atlantic with USS Gerald R. Ford and NATO navies.
It was met by navy tugs and safely tied up at HMC Dockyard.

The ship was neatly bracketed between Canadian flags at Summit Place and the Dominion Federal Building. The red colour on Canadian flags showed up surprisingly well in the atomizer-like spray.

 The high winds did not seem to deter the big move at Halifax Shipyard. The fourth APOV ship was succesfully transported from the hard stand at Pier 8 to the launch barge Boabarge 37.

 The tug Atlantic Willow holds the Boabarge 37 alongside at Pier 7.

The ship was inched aboard the barge in a morning-long operation using multi-wheel Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs). Plans to move the barge to Bedford Basin today have been postponed -  likely to tomorrow - when the ship will be floated off.

Speaking of the Bedford Basin the ConRo Nolhan Ava opted to remain in port until better conditions prevail before settting out on its weekly trip to St-Pierre et Miquelon and Argentia. It went to anchor in Bedford Basin where the X-Press Machu Piccu, Franbo Lohas and Polar Circle have planted teir anchors.

Several other ship arrivals were postponed until tomorrow. Boarding conditions would not unsafe for pilots, but also the ships would be at risk of parting lines while alongside. Also the high winds would preclude container crane operation at the terminals. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day.


Friday, November 25, 2022

Return Engagements and a First Date

 It was a return visit this morning (November 25) for the ice breaking tug USCGC Morro Bay WTGB-106 arriving once again at the Tall Ships Quay as it did on May 23 of this year. [See Shipfax of that date] Today however the weather was clear, so there were no dramatic fog effects (visual and auditory).

As noted on its previous visit en route from its base in Cleveland, OH, its hull paint was (and still is) absolutely pristine. This time it arrived from Boston and is returning to the Lakes where its duties will involve icebreaking, which will certainly mar that coating.

 Some "Yokohama" type inflatible fenders should further protect that paint while it is in port. A squad of Navy matelots met the ship and took its lines.

A first time caller this morning was sent to anchor in Bedford Basin where it will await its turn at PSA Halifax. Sailing for Melfi Lines, X-Press Machu Picchu arrived from Italy and Spain en route to Cuba.

Dating from 2006, the ship was built by Naikai, Setoda, Japan as Constantin S for H+H Schepers, then renamed in 2018 when acquired by Paterson Pte Ltd of Singapore. The 27,191 gt, 33,355 dwt ship can carry 2529 TEU, including 300 reefers and is fitted with three 45 tonne SWL cranes - two forward and one aft of the superstructure. It has a number of tank containers on number one hatch, likely empty, which could be used to carry sugar based commodities (for exmple rum), one of Cuba's prime exports.

Another of Cuba's exports was also processed in Halifax this week when off loaded from the Puka at Pier 27. Bagged nickel sulfides in bulk bags will be sent on by rail for primary processing in Fort Saskatchewan, AB.

Renamed as of October 1, the ship was previously named the Trinitas when built in 2007 by Damen Okean, Mykolayiv, Ukraine and completed by Damen Hoogezand, Foxhol. It is an 8999 gt, 12,016 dwt ship with a capacity of 684 TEU (including 80 reefers) and carries two 80 tonne SWL cranes.

It was renamed Nirint Hollandia on delivery, then in 2012 became Hollandia before reverting to Trinitas in 2019. It has continued to sail for Netherlands based Nirint since new, and has called in Halifax under each of its names.

(March 25, 2022 photo)


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Torm Tops Up the Tanks

 The Copenhagen based tanker specialist Torm A/S, operates a fleet of eighty wholly owned petroleum carriers, ranging from Long Range crude carriers to Handysize product carriers. The majority of the ships however are of the MidRange product carrier size (50,000 dwt approximately) with some 59 vessels in that category. Today (November 22) their Torm Sublime arrived from Antwerp with refined product for Imperial Oil.

Wearing Torm's  familiar, but unique burnt orange and black colour scheme, the ship is nevertheless somewhat unusual. It was not built in South Korea like most MRs, but instead by Guangzhou Shipyard International Co Ltd in Guangzhou, China. Delivered in October 2019 it is a 28,877 gt, 49,974 dwt vessel with several interesting features.

The most noticeable is the extra wide enclosed bridge. This is suggestive of winter navigation, and therefore an ice classification. (I am unable to confirm this with current accessible resources.)

The blocky superstructure also includes the closed loop exhaust gas scrubber system installed during construction.

Torm has retrofitted scores of its tankers with scrubbers, which resulted in unavoidably awkward looks. I am not sure, but the "new build" versions look like a last minute add on to a previous design. The squat funnnel sits on the scrubber "tower" which may be on the port side only- I will try for a stern shot another day.

The ship displays the Danish flag on its sides and sails under the Danish International Registry. That regime provides tax relief for seafarers and allows ship owners to employ foreign nationals at industry competitive wage rates. A similar scheme operates in Norway and has proven to be a boon for shipowners in both countries.


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Launch Plan

 Work is underway for the next "launch" at Halifax Shipyard. The fourth Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy is expected to take to the water next weekend.

Built largely undercover in "mega blocks" the two main components of the ship were rolled out in June and August and joined on the hardstand at pier 8.

Weather permitting, the future HMCS William Hall AOPV 433 will be rolled onto the semi-submersible barge Boa Barge 37 and transported to Bedford Basin where it will be floated off as the barge is submerged.

The shipyard has no floating dock of its own, so has chartered the Norwegian flagged Boa Barge 37 which has been on standby for the AOPS launches and the odd component transfer across the harbour from the Woodside plant.

Halifax Shipyard did have floating drydocks at one time - see my post from November 9, 2015- and in fact it was forty years ago this month that its largest unit was delivered to Halifax (in two sections.)  It was called Novadock and was (old) Panamax size. It was built and owned by the Province of Nova Scotia as a means of keeping the then Halifax Shipyards (plural) competitive in ship repair. 

November 15, 1982 the tugs Irving Miami and Irving Cedar assisted by Irving Teak towing in the larger section of the Novadock from Sorel, QC, where it ws built. (A smaller section was built in Pictou and joined in Halifax.)

 Since the advent of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) Irving Shipbuilding has become a strictly naval shipbuilding and repair centre and no longer carries out commercial ship repair. It still has the graving dock, which can accommodate a Halifax class frigate for refits, but it is understood that they would like to increase their drydocking capacity and possibly have enclosed space.

The NSPS, now the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), has been a bit of a double edged sword as it has opened up possibilities for several other shipyards for both repair and newbuilding work. But with Halifax booked to capacity for newbuilds and naval refits there is little room for repairs.

Davie Shipyard in Lévis, QC with two huge graving docks, has secured frigate repair work, icebreaker construction / conversions and has built and operates a supply ship for the RCN . (That ship, the Asterix is currently in drydock at the shipyard.) They also recently handed over CCGS Vincent Massey the last of three supply ship rebuilds as interim Coast Guard icebreakers, and completed a major refit on HMCS Toronto.

Heddle Marine from Hamilton, ON has rejuvenated the large graving dock in Thunder Bay and the former Port Weller Dry Dock in St.Catharines, ON and was recently awarded a big refit contract on CCGS Terry Fox.

Groupe Océan, operators of a small shipyard at Ile-aux-Coudres, QC, and a repair/ drydock/ fabrication facility in Quebec City, has completed the first of four tugs for the RCN. The Haro will be transported to Esquimalt, BC by heavy lift ship. The company has also acquired the Verreault shipyard in Méchins, QC, with its own large graving dock and extensive repair / fabrication (and future shipbuilding) capability. The Méchins yard is the closest large shipyard to the Atlantic coast, but is severely hampered in winter.

The only other large drydocking capability in eastern Canada is Newdock in St.John's, NL with a graving dock and synchrolift. (There are several capable smaller shipyards such as Pictou and Shelburne, NS that also do RCN and CCG refit work and commercial ship repair.)

The Royal Canadian Navy's own ship repair unit in Halifax, has a synchrolift that will need to be upgraded to accommodate larger ships. The facility now maintains submarines, and frigates.  

Without a large drydock, Halifax Shipyard is shut out of the commercial ship repair business, but that is to be expected as it now concentrates on naval work. It is inching ahead on the frigate replacement project which will keep the yard occupied for the next 10 to 15 years.

BoaBarge 37 transferring components across the harbour from Woodside to Halifax Shipyard.


Friday, November 18, 2022

ZIM Shekou

 The veteran ZIM Shekou arrived this morning in daylight for a change. Most ships arriving at PSA Halifax Hub's South End Terminal arrive earlier so as to align with the longshore employees shift start. Ship operators also try to complete the ship's cargo work within the normal shift to avoid overtime labour charges.

ZIM Shekou has been a regular caller in Halifax since 2018 on ZIM's ZCA service from the Mediterranean. That service also has slots for HAPAG-Lloyd's AU7 route. Built in 2007 by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co at their number 2 yard, ZIM Shekou is a 39,906 gt, 50,629 dwt ship with a capacity of 4250 TEU.

Due to those customary early arrivals I rarely get to see the ship (ot take a picture.)


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Maersk Idaho update

 The container ship Maersk Idaho languished at anchor again today (November 16) but there is a tentative pilot order for it to move to Pier 42 first thing tomorrow morning.

 As Maersk Idaho rests at anchor, a front end loader works on the fill area which has created a smaller basin off Africville Park. Some of the new area will be for public use.

As per previous posts, the ship arrived in Halifax November 9 then put back out to sea November 10. It re-entered port November 12 and anchored in Bedford Basin where it has remained.

I have learned that the ship is substituting for the Vistula Maersk, which is in drydock at Lindø, in Odense, Denmark, on Maersk / CMA CGM's Canada Atlantic Express /St-Laurent 1 service from North Europe to Montreal. The Maersk Idaho apparently exceeds allowable draft for the St.Lawrence and must lighter off some cargo. I  believe that even after offloading some cargo November 10 it was found that the midship draft was still too great. In the meantime the weather and other priority traffic at the PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub seems to have delayed completion of the lightening.

High wind and driving rain precluded a photo of today's caller CMA CGM G.Washington at PSA, but I did manage to get a partial image during a lull.

The crew did not pay much attention to the rigging of rat guards. Halifax rats are both ingenious and agile, so should have no trouble bypassing these shields if they want to.
Hyundai HI, Ulsan built the 140,872 gt, 148,992 dwt ship in 2017. It has a capacity of 14,414 TEU.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

MSC Rossella

 The Mediterranean Shipping Company names its owned ships with female names (charters have various themes). Reports indicate that as of October 2022 the company owned 394 ships, chartered 312 ships and had 126 ships on order. (Total carrying capacity is well in excess of 4 million TEU.) As the fleet grows, earlier this year overtaking Maersk as the world's largest, they keep finding unique names for their ships. Today's arrival (November 15) appears to be a feminization of the male name "Ross": MSC Rossella.

Sailing on the CANEX 2 service, the ship arrived at PSA Atlantic Hub this morning from Montreal. The ship will top up cargo to bring it to sea going draft, then sail for Barcelona, Leghorn, Genoa and Valencia. 

A typical MSC ship - they are well known for maintaining older ships - the MSC Rossella was built in 1993 by Samsung Shipbuilding + Heavy Industry on Geoge Island (formerly rendered as Koje) South Korea. Launched as Hansa Europe it was renamed Ville de Carina on delivery. It became MSC Rossella in 1997. The 37,938 gt, 43,605 dwt ship has a capacity of 3398 TEU.


Monday, November 14, 2022

An ill wind

 It may have been an ill wind that blew through Halifax Harbour (and Atlantic Canada) this morning (November 14) because it certainly played havoc with ship schedules and does not appear to have brought benefit to anyone.

Both Northumberland Strait and Cabot Strait ferries cancelled their crossings today and in Halifax three ships that were due to dock went to anchor instead.

Tropical Lissette and Lagarfoss were to have tied up at the South End terminal this morning. Due to the high winds they anchored near each other in the lower harbour and it was not until 1500 that Lagaross got underway and 1600 for Tropical Lissette to move to their intended berths at piers 41 and 42 respectively. 

Lagarfoss is on Eimskip's Green Line service, departing Rekjavik November 8 and headed next for Portland, ME.

Tropical Lissette operates for Tropical Shipping and departed St.Croix, VI November 9. It's next scheduled port is Palm Beach,

It is interesting that these ships, sailing from opposite directions meet in Halifax. Both Eimskip and Tropical are large users of refrigerated containers (which are usually painted white).

The third ship that went to anchor instead of docking was the first time caller Neptune Koper arriving from Emden for Autoport.

Built in 2004 by Uljanik, Pula, Croatia, it is relatively small for an autocarrier at 44,408 gt, 14,650 dwt. However it does have a respectable capacity of 5,380 CEU. Orginally named Grande Lagos for Grimaldi Lines, it was acquired by Norwegian Car Carriers in 2010 and renamed NOCC Kattegat. Current owners Neptune Lines of Piraeus, Greece, acquired the ship in 2021 and renamed it for the Slovenian port of Koper. They placed the ship on a weekly service between Turkish ports, Piraeus and Koper, however that has obviously changed. The ship's latest itinerary was Gemlik, Turkey October 15-16; Sète, France October 20-21; Valencia, Spain October 22-23; Vlissingen, Netherlands October 27-30; and Emden October 30-November 3.

The Neptune Koper anchored in number one anchorage, where it twirled around for much of the day. It finally moved to Autoport in the late afternoon. The ship may be substituting for a Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean visit which was listed as a "blank sailing" on the Port's schedule.

One ship that did berth on arrival was the NYK Nebula which embarked its pilot at 1500 at the pilot station. By the time it reached the inner harbour about an hour later, the extreme gusts had died down and it was able to transit the Narrows (with tug escort) for PSA Fairview Cove. 

Meanwhile in Bedford Basin the Maersk Idaho remained at anchor. There is nothing quite like bright sun on a Maersk hull.

At Imperial Oil it was the coastal tanker Algoscotia which arrived last night from Nanticoke.


The ship secured at the newly upgraded moorings at Imperial Oil's dock number 3. The facility was rebuilt to allow ships to remain alongside in high winds. Judging by all the lines out they were taking no chances even so. It was unusual that the ship berthed bows south - they usually tie up bows north.

(That is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's ship CSS Acadia in the background.)

The RRS James Cook arrived in Halifax Friday November 11 and tied up at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. The Royal Research Ship is operated by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Completed by Flekkefjord in Norway in 2007 on a hull built by Crist in Gdansk, the 5401 gt ship has conducted numerous research missions in the North Atlantic. (It was last in Halifax on September 27.)

Today it loaded some gear at Pier 9C and sailed in the early evening.

With the retired CCGS Hudson in the background, shore cranes load some gear on the James Cook.